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Indigenous issues addressed by Banff-Kananaskis candidates

Indigenous issues addressed by Banff-Kananaskis candidates.
The Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association hosts a provincial election forum at the Banff Park Lodge on Tuesday (May 16). From left: Incumbent UCP MLA Miranda Rosin, Green Party candidate Regan Boychuk, NDP candidate Sarah Elmeligi and Solidarity Movement of Alberta candidate Kyle Jubb. JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

The Banff-Kananaskis riding has two Indigenous First Nations in the Stoney Nakoda Nation and Tsuu T’ina Nation. It is often been cited that the standard of living on and off a First Nation when it comes to issues of clean drinking water, healthcare and housing is far below that of municipal communities in the province. How would you and your party work with local Indigenous peoples to address issues being faced by Indigenous communities?

Regan Boychuk – Green Party of Alberta

As a Redwood Meadows resident, we get a small taste of what this land’s original stewards endure. We just came off another boil water advisory. There are plenty of excuses for the massive infrastructure deficits on First Nations, but no legitimate reasons.

Our honour depends on good faith efforts to urgently redress unacceptable conditions, wherever they may be found in Alberta.

Treating symptoms is one priority, but the root of the problem is funding and the Green Party’s commitment to reconciliation means that we’re the only ones talking about paying royalties to First Nations and offering real partnerships to Indigenize the reclamation of thousands of oil and gas sights on Alberta’s almost 200 reserves.

Sarah Elmeligi – Alberta NDP

As a resident of Banff-Kananaskis I recognize and honour my place on the traditional territory of Treaty 7 Nations – The Blackfoot Confederacy, the T’suu T’ina, the îyârhe Nakoda, and the Metis people of Region 3 Alberta.

When in government, we were successful in assisting the Stoney people to bring more drinking infrastructure to the Stoney Nakoda Nation. This is one step of many that must be taken towards reconciliation. My approach will be to ask the Indigenous nations in the riding what they need and how I could support them achieve it.

Indigenous communities are creative, entrepreneurial, and industrious, and have great ideas about how their communities can thrive. I want to support that. As an inclusive party, we will expand existing small business granting programs to support Indigenous business development. Our plan for Alberta’s parks will include co-management options across the province.

I am aware that healthcare and housing are two tremendous challenges for Indigenous constituents. Our family heath teams approach, and our commitment to building affordable housing will help Indigenous communities and families in Banff-Kananaskis and elsewhere. Having worked with members of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, and having a family relationship with the T'suu T'ina, I have learned to listen first, ask questions, and then follow through on my commitments to all of my constituents.

Kyle Jubb – Solidarity Movement of Alberta

Our current government’s solution is to throw money at Indigenous, but only if they stay in their area. My concern is we don't appreciate what we get for free. There is value in working to earn something. We must treat all reserves like we do every other municipality in Alberta, they are Albertans as well. We must encourage and help them grow their economy just like we expect the government to do in the Bow Valley. The way to make a strong and prosperous province is to unite as Albertans rather than individuals. Every Albertan should be a contributing member to society no matter where you live.

Miranda Rosin – United Conservative Party

Our United Conservatives remain committed to ensure Alberta’s Indigenous people can become partners in prosperity in our province. For too long, living conditions and federal policies on reserve have held Indigenous communities back. While access to clean drinking water and housing are largely the responsibility of the federal government, as United Conservatives we will continue listening to Indigenous peoples, leaders, and elders, to be their advocate and push the federal government to honour the commitments and promises they have made to these communities.

We continue to support the water tie-in program. This program is a collaboration between the province, municipalities, and First Nations. It provides provincial grant funding to connect Indigenous communities to existing nearby municipal water and wastewater systems in Alberta. As United Conservatives we additionally established the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. The AIOC elevates Indigenous communities to become partners in prosperity with the province, helping provide Nations with income and good paying jobs for their members. The AIOC manages $1 billion of provincially-backed loan guarantees so that Indigenous communities wishing to invest in economic development and prosperity can access capital. Eligible projects under the AIOC are those in the natural resources, agriculture, telecommunications, and transportation sectors.

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